Alex Ferguson gives his take on the NBA's return to Sky Sports
Last Updated: 11/01/13 12:11pm
Luol Deng: The air to Jordan in Chicago?
Earlier this month, Sky Sports delivered the news UK NBA fans have been dying to hear: Kobe, LeBron, Melo and friends are back on Sky Sports!
Starting on Thursday, January 17 with the sold-out 02 game between the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons (also on 3D, by the way!), Sky Sports will be bringing a double-bill of NBA right to your living room.
And for those fans unfamiliar with the goings-on in the NBA this season, here is a quick prep on those people you'll be talking about after all is said and done in mid-to-late June.
1) Who is ripping up the NBA?
For sheer scoring prowess, the normal guys are putting up a ton of points. Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers), Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), James Harden (Houston Rockets), and LeBron James (Miami Heat) are putting up over 26 points per game.
And assists-wise, Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics) and Chris Paul (LA Clippers) are leading the pack. Rebounding-wise, Anderson Varejo (Cleveland Cavaliers) is the best in the business, although expect Dwight Howard (Lakers) to be topping the all-rebound list come the end of the season. The guy hasn't really lost a step since moving from Orlando in the off-season.
2) And team-wise?
The LA Clippers are dropping jaws at the moment. They were perfect in December, and have the best record in the league with a 28-8 record. Oklahoma City's not lost any sleep over losing James Harden in the off-season. They currently own a 27-8 record. And watch out for San Antonio, who is always there or thereabouts and have a ton of late-season experience - especially with the dynamic duo of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
In the East, the unexpected Knicks are 23-11, just behind Miami, who has a 23-10 record. And the Indiana Pacers could well be renewing old rivalries with the Knicks come play-offs time - they currently have a 21-14 record. Surprisingly, both the Celtics and Lakers are really struggling at the moment. If Boston is inconsistent (18-17), then the Lakers are awful (15-20), and have already fired one coach.
So with that in mind, here are 10 things you should say to impress NBA fans...
1) The fact that Miami has lost 10 games this year proves no-one is unbeatable in this league. But they could well prove unbeatable in the play-offs if Ray Allen finds his touch again.
2) LeBron James better than Michael Jordan? Are those two really comparable? Man, I'm still in love with Jordan's jumper against Utah in 1998.
3) Personally, I don't think James Harden and Jeremy Lin are going to be enough to bring the glory days of Hakeem Olajuwon back to Houston. They just simply don't have enough defence.
4) The New York Knicks haven't clicked this well since the glory days of Patrick Ewing. And it's not just about Carmelo Anthony...How good has the renaissance of Jason Kidd and JR Smith been for this team? My only worry's going to be their bodies in February/March. Their bodies won't be able to handle the NBA schedule.
5) (And say this snarkily) You heard the one about Jack Nicholson buying floor seats to the Clippers now because he wants to see a better team in LA?
6) What did Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett actually say to each other? I heard wives and moms were involved. It sure can't have been a comment from Garnett about Syracuse - they're pretty good this year!
7) I would love to think that Kyrie Irving's going to be the new LeBron James, but he'll probably leave Cleveland when his contract's up. Which is going to be sad for the people of Cleveland still trying to recover from 'The Decision' (add shake of head for emphasis).
8) Great to see Luol Deng playing so well in Chicago. It would be great to see a Brit getting a ring? Should we see if he can move to Miami?
9) Beard or not, Oklahoma City is still great to watch. And do they make the crowd down a Red Bull in one before going into the arena? The place is off the hook!
10) You might be in love with your wife, but I'm in love with the three-point stroke of Ray Allen - even when it's not going through the net every time. (And for added points) He got game!
What not to say.....
1) (Especially to a Lakers fan) Well the arrival of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard has been really great for the Lakeshow, hasn't it? (The team on paper is one of the most talented in the league. But it simply hasn't clicked.)
2) Frankly, the San Antonio Spurs are simply overrated. They're lucky. Who's that Tim Duncan bloke anyway? You never hear about him in the press. (The Spurs have been the model of consistency year in, year out. It's a joy to watch a team that keeps itself out of trouble simply win on the court and completely belie age concerns. Oh, and Tim Duncan's exceptional year in, year out.).
3) Can't the Oklahoma City Thunder's crowd just SHUT UP for a minute? They're deafening me (O.K.C. Is renowned for having the league's loudest atmosphere, and it's making the Thunder an attractive team to watch and play for)
4) Luol Deng. Chicago's new Jordan. And he's British. (Note: There will never be another Michael Jordan in Chicago)
5) Pah. I much preferred the Knicks when they were losing and terrible. It was more fun that way (As a Knicks fan, I can assure you it wasn't fun when the Knicks were losing and terrible. At all).
6) Jeremy Lin's overrated. He's only there to increase interest in the franchise abroad (Actually, he's beating his historical highs in ever category at the moment).
7) But it's so much fun to see Sacramento play their basketball in California. We don't need a team moving back to Seattle. (No-one seems to want to be in Sacramento at the moment: The owners, the players, the fans- the return to Seattle might be a good thing for the team. Plus, California's got a ton of teams anyway).
8) If I'm a gambling man, I'd give 3-1 odds that Michael Jordan will walk out of Charlotte in the next five years. The man can't bear losing, and the Charlotte Bobcats are really, really good at losing.
9) M'eh. The West's weak. That's why the LA Clippers did so well. They're overrated. Anyone can win a few games. (Yeah, but not SEVENTEEN STRAIGHT, Mr Bitter Lakers fan!)
10) New York Knicks fans are just so loyal (They aren't. Madison Square Garden used to be an easy ticket).